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Flames, without Kiprusoff, visit Columbus

by Davis Harper

FLAMES (2-3-2) at BLUE JACKETS (3-6-1)

TV: SNET-West, FS-Ohio

Season series: This is the first of three meetings this season. The Blue Jackets beat the Flames three times last season, although three of the four games went to a shootout.

Big story: How will Calgary respond to the loss of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff? The Flames' longtime starter will miss at least Thursday's contest against Columbus with a lower-body injury, and the Blue Jackets will look to improve a dismal goal differential in his absence.

Team Scope:

Flames: Playing just their second away game of the season, the Flames entered Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday looking to earn two points for just the second time season. They got them, but might have come away worse for the wear. Goals from Jarome Iginla, Curtis Glencross, Dennis Wideman and Mark Giordano gave Calgary convincing 4-1 win, but the Flames and their fans held their collective breath near the end of the second period when Kiprusoff and Johan Franzen collided in the crease. Kiprusoff didn't come out for the third period; backup Leland Irving stopped all six shots he faced in relief.

Kiprusoff, who has played at least 70 games in each of the last seven seasons, is listed as day-to-day. He termed it a "short-term injury" after the announcement. To back up Irving, Calgary signed Danny Taylor from their AHL farm team in Abbotsford on Wednesday.

"You take for granted how good he is and how consistent he is," Iginla said. "He's a big part of our team."

Blue Jackets: Despite having played three more games than Calgary, Columbus remains just a point ahead of the Flames in the Western standings. The Jackets are also tied for lowest goals-per-game, with 1.90, and have scored two or fewer goals in seven of eight games. That was the case Tuesday against Los Angeles, when Columbus squandered three man advantages on the way to 4-2 loss at Nationwide Arena. During a four-minute power play in the third period, Columbus managed to test Jonathan Quick just once.

"I've talked about how your power play can create positive energy," coach Todd Richards said. "That four minutes were really just draining the clock. We spent more time working back to our zone than we did in the offensive zone. Our execution wasn't good."

Who's hot: The hottest player involved just recorded his first goal. Despite 31 shots and four assists thus far this season, Iginla's gritty goalmouth finish Tuesday was the 500-goal scorer's first of the 2012-13 campaign.

Injury report: Kiprusoff (lower body) and Anton Babchuk (shoulder) are day-to-day for Calgary; rookie forward. Sven Baertschi (hip) is week-to-week. … For Columbus, Adrian Aucoin (lower body), John Moore (lower body) and Cam Atkinson (ankle) are day-to-day. Nikita Nikitin is expected back by mid-February with an upper-body injury, while James Wisniewski is out indefinitely with a concussion.

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